Yesterday evening, partly because I was anxious to increase my driving efficiency and partly because the task was long overdue, I drove to my local garage to put some air in the tyres. As many of my loyal car-owning readers will well know, this is not a simple process. If one was not afraid of being corny, one might call it a tiresome one.

Before setting off, I had to be sure to have the precise coinage. On arrival, I had to remove the hubcaps. I then had to be sure not to lose them. Taking care not to scuff the knees of my trousers, I had to inflate the tyres while peering through the window to see if and how the pressure was rising. I then had to stoop again, to replace the caps. And finally, I had to replace the retractable snake-like cable without allowing it to scratch my precious bodywork.

In the old days, people even of my relatively modest age would have engaged somebody else to do their tyres for them. And give them a few bob in return. Likewise, they would have employed somebody to take care of their house and car insurance. They would never have deigned to put fuel into the car themselves. And they would have had the Christmas tree delivered, possibly by the very man who delivered their coal on a monthly basis.

Not any more. No matter what your age, you need to do it yourself. Tough enough for the middle-aged, is it not? For the life of me, I am amazed at the tenacity and resourcefulness of the elderly, who take on all the above responsibilities – and many more to boot.

If we want an example of the sort of dynamism, stamina and personal responsibility that this older generation has taken on, we need reflect no further back than Westminster Abbey and this week’s moving service in memory and thanks for HRH The Duke of Edinburgh. What an example he set. And what a wonderful grandfather he was.

In the history of Blue Coat School, we had not, until this very week, celebrated the virtues, the vigour, the virtuosity and the sheer inestimable value of grandparents in general. But on Tuesday, as the Queen remembered her late husband, Year 3 celebrated with our inaugural Grandparents’ Day.

First, the children put on a wonderful recital of music and poetry. This was followed by a visit to their classrooms to show off their impressive work. Finally, children and grandparents together enjoyed a first class afternoon tea, something more akin to the Ritz than to a school. It was poignant to celebrate this event after two years of postponement, and everybody seemed to have a wonderfully warm time. As one grandparent suggested, “My granddaughter is so happy coming to school at Blue Coat. We now see why. It is a different class”. Rich praise for all the team here.

 This came after a weekend where the music department, led by Jeremy Nicklin, were busy recording our 300-Year CD. Our ensembles and orchestras were on point, and the children had a wonderful time connecting with industry professionals, Alix Original Studio, who work with the likes of Jessie J. (That is ‘Jessica Ellen Cornish’  in grandparent-speak!)

On Monday, it was time for the Pre Prep children to record their own song, ‘The Best That I Can Be’, written by our Chaplain, Becky Drake. And Prep joined together to record ‘Grow in Grace’ by our own Director of music, Mr Nicklin. Both songs sum up our school beautifully and are a harmonious celebration of our 300 year history. Incidentally, Download details will soon be available 

This Thursday, the Heads of School released their final podcast of the year. This was a 300-Year special, featuring a special interview with the legendary Mrs Andrews. By tuning in, families will be provided with a wonderful insight to school. I must congratulate Miss Stanford and Mr Hill for putting this podcast together.

As part of their religious studies curriculum, Year 6 enjoyed a visit to the synagogue. The children found the visit informative and it helped to bring their learning alive. Trips are so important; they bring education ‘off the page’. One pupil described the visit as thoroughly enjoyable and poignant. Mature words for one so young.

To round off the week we had a stirring House Shout event. Today, children and staff sang for their lives as they represented their houses. Congratulations to the overall winners, St George’s House! However, with all four of the song choices being floor-fillers, each of the houses has surpassed themselves. Events like today and this week have reinforced the adamantine community spirit here at BCS.

Keep an eye out at the start of next term for the Out of the Blue magazine, which will celebrate the wealth of activity here at Blue Coat. I thank all the staff for their hard work and dedication in a COVID-ravaged term. Never has my favourite statement been so prevalent; “Individually strong, unbreakable as one.”

Thank you, the parent body, for all your understanding, your commitment and your support.  

Have a restful Easter break, one and all.

Noel Neeson